NFL Team Preview: Rebuilding Jets land on 31st spot in fantasy power rankings

·7 min read

We’re previewing every NFL team to get you ready for the 2021 season. Our analysts will tackle pressing fantasy questions and team win totals, in order from the squad with the least amount of fantasy relevancy all the way to the most talented team. Next up, the 31st-ranked New York Jets.

The Jets have an intriguing group of receivers they're expected to field this season. Who among the trio of Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, and Elijah Moore would you expect to have the biggest fantasy impact?

Andy: I appreciate the framing of this question, which excludes Jamison Crowder entirely. He's still the best receiver on the Jets roster, but the team could very well kick him to the curb after drafting Moore. As a longtime promoter of Crowder for PPR purposes, I welcome any relocation. If he goes to Detroit or Tennessee, he could see 130 targets. 

As for the actual question here ... um ... ick. Gimme Davis, the team's presumptive No. 1. I'm a bit skeptical of Zach Wilson's potential to direct a productive passing game in his first season, so I doubt any Jets receiver is going to reach 1,000 yards in the year ahead. 

Matt: I love what the Jets did at wide receiver this offseason. Corey Davis isn’t a true No. 1 receiver but they didn’t pay him like one. He’s an ideal fit as a flanker that can do the dirty work in this offense on in-breaking routes. Hopefully, Denzel Mims takes the next step as their X-receiver option. I think he has the skills to make it work. Keelan Cole is a great option as the utility WR4. The icing on the cake was adding Elijah Moore in the draft to replace Jamison Crowder in the slot (perhaps as soon as this summer) and bring more explosive potential to the position.

The safe answer for this question is Davis as his ball-winner mentality is a good fit with what Zach Wilson did in college and he’s the odds-on favorite to lead the team in targets. However, I’d encourage everyone to take shots on Mims and especially Moore late in drafts. Moore is a player I compare to Tyler Lockett as a true vertical inside weapon.

Mo: Ah, the Jets passing game. What a pleasure it was watching it work last year. But 2021 is a new year, a new season, with a new system in place, a Shanahan-esque one that is expected to be buoyed by lots of quick throws and play-action passes. If I wasn't uncertain about Jamison Crowder's status on this team, I'd take him.

So, with the idea that he's on his way out, give me rookie Elijah Moore, who would slide right into Crowder's role as slot threat. Moore's electrifying ability is well-noted, but it's the fact he only dropped 10 of TWO HUNDRED career catchable targets at Ole Miss that tells me he and Zach Wilson are going to get along just fine.

Gang Green signed Tevin Coleman and then drafted North Carolina's Michael Carter. Ty Johnson had some flashes last year as well. Is this a running game to avoid, or do you think one of these RBs will eventually take over?

Matt:I don’t have a priority target in this backfield right now and I think it’s a bit disingenuous to proclaim anything with much certainty with this group. If you’re taking a late stab on anyone with much enthusiasm it would be rookie Michael Carter. Same-school comparisons draw plenty of eye-rolls but I could see him being a Giovani Bernard-type of back in the NFL. Bernard is a good back that’s a rock-solid asset in the passing game but while he can and has handled true RB1 workloads in the past, it’s not where he’s best deployed. Given the state of the Jets depth chart at this position, Carter could end up thrust into those spots like Gio has in the past.

Mo: I'd avoid this running game entirely. The offensive line is expected to be better this year, but I just can't put stock in a running game that will A) play behind an unproven rookie B) doesn't have a proven workhorse talent, and C) will probably be abandoned once the team gets down by a couple of scores (which, yeah, they will).

Andy: Carter is a fun player who actually led UNC in rushing last season (1,245 yards) while sharing the workload with Javonte Williams. He's a bit undersized (5-foot-8), however, so I doubt the team views him as a candidate for an every-down featured role. Still, he's the guy I'd draft if you made me take a Jets running back. Coleman couldn't thrive in San Francisco's run game, so he's not likely to make a splash in New York. 

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Running back Michael Carter #8 of the North Carolina Tar Heels on a kick-off during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 17, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Tar Heels 31 to 28. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Jets rookie Michael Carter doesn't have the frame to be an every-down back, but should be a contributor for an offense in need of backfield help. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Do you see value in drafting Zach Wilson in Superflex leagues, or is he someone to leave on the waiver in Year 1?

Mo: Yeah, I'm definitely taking Wilson in Superflex league drafts, but that doesn't mean I have to play him every week. Regardless, Wilson has upside in this format, especially if he starts making plays with his legs. I'm not leaving him on the waiver and then having to beat the rush when he goes for 250 yards through the air and 85 on the ground with three total TDs in Week 1.

(Okay so that's likely not going to happen but as the resident Jets fan here I have to at least try.)

Andy: Well, the whole trick with Superflex leagues is that someone is gonna get stuck with the bottom-tier QBs, because every starter has to be rostered. Your goal is to not be the guy with the least interesting quarterbacks on your squad. Wilson plainly has value in Superflex, because he's a day-one starter with some rushing ability. It would be a mistake to actually target him, but you certainly can't exclude him from your cheat sheet. If he can give us, say, 24 passing TDs and another 4-5 on the ground, consider it a massive win. 

Matt: Variance is the word that springs to mind when it comes to the Jets’ offense. I really like what they’ve built and the offense they’ll theoretically be running with Mike LaFleur bringing in a Shanahan-offshoot to New York. That said, this is an entirely new group of players that doesn’t have any experience together and will likely lean on key contributions from three to four rookies (including Alijah Vera-Tucker at guard). Wilson will be on the Superflex radar, there’s no doubt about that. But I can see some rocky moments for him as a rookie with some really nice highs and some ghastly lows. In 2022? Sign me up.

New York Jets projected 2021 fantasy contributors

QB: Zach Wilson

RB: Tevin Coleman / Michael Carter

WR: Corey Davis / Denzel Mims / Jamison Crowder / Elijah Moore

TE: Chris Herndon

New York Jets O/U on 6 win total from BetMGM

Scott: I probably won't take this to the window, but I have to lean under. Remember, the Jets by most advanced metrics (DVOA, for one measure) were really 2020's worst team, not the Jaguars; and now the Jets are asked to take a significant leap in victories. The Gase-is-gone boost has proven to fix many things in the NFL, but asking Zach Wilson to be a miracle worker in Season 1 is asking too much, especially in a division where everyone else has more talent. New York is looking to play the long game; keep expectations tempered for 2021. 

Follow Andy: @andybehrens

Follow Matt: @MattHarmon_BYB

Follow Scott: @scott_pianowski

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